tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 29, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST
tune into the cspan road to the white house sunday at 6:00 27:30 p.m. eastern. >> tomgarrick this morning on the unrest in egypt. after that, former congressional office budget director on the final report of the financial crisis inquiry commission. then the former chairman of amnesty international discusses the reauthorization of the patriot act and later, an orlando sentinel reporter looks at how the nasa mission is changing due to the end of the space shuttle program. "washington journal " is next. . .
twitter, send us a twitter. >> here's a look at some of the headlines. in the chicago sun times, furies in egypt. also this morning, in the los angeles times. also in the papers this morning, the saturday denver post, cairo descends to chaos. and finally, the atlanta journal constitution. in the "washington post" this morning, they have this article
this is what he had to say. >> what's needed right now are concrete steps that advance the concrete steps that advance the rights of the egyptian people, a meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens, and a path of political change that leads to a future of greater freedom and greater opportunity and justice for the egyptian people. now, ultimately the future of egypt will be determined by the egyptian people. and i believe that the egyptian people want the same things that we all want, a better life for ourselves and our children, and a government that is fair and just and responsive. and put simply, the egyptian people want a future that befits the heirs to a great and ancient civilization. the united states always will be a partner in pursuit of that future. and we are commited to working with the egyptian government and the egyptian people.
all quarters, to achieve it. >> and in the "new york times" this morning, egypt's respected military is seen as pivotal in what happens next. we have on the phone joining us from from new york. tell us a little bit more about what's going on currently and how is the military seen as a plier in this uprising. >> good morning. the military, you know, as far as i can tell this morning, sort of running battles on the streets although the pattern
has been there's a lull in the morning and demonstrations build in the afternoon. and the military, this is, you know, they rolled out the tanks yesterday and put them around important institutions like the broadcasting center where all the tv comes from and the ministry of foreign affairs, and foreign embassies, et cetera. and it's the first time in decades, actually, that they've deployed the army. and the people applauded and -- i mean, the demonstrators on the streets applauded. one, is that tunisia is kind of the inspiration for this whole thing and everybody is keenly aware that the military was instrumental in ushering the president out of the country. because they refused to fire on demonstrators. and second, you know, the army is a very respected institution in egypt and people sort of feel like they will be well
treated, they won't be -- the police are sort of, they call the police the sort of the plain clothe'sed policeman who enforce it on a day-to-day basis, you see people on tv hitting demonstrators, they call them thugs. so they felt the army would treat them better. >> sort of bring us up to speed on how we got to this situation with the uprising in egypt. where did this start? how did it get going? where are we now? >> the egyptian people have been doing a slow burn for years. over a number of issues. and it's interesting because mum bark always said all along that he was the bull wark against islamic extremism and he had to maintain an emergency law in egypt that's been in place since he's been in power
since 1981 because he needed that against the terrorists that were determined to take over the country. and none of that, islamic slogan yearing or anything has come to the fore. it's all been grievances about people, poverty, the way they're governed and social issues. and there's a number of points i mentioned. the emergency law. there's also just the sense the way people are treated. what i've been talking about the way before. the police are constantly harass people, beat people, shake people down. so the egyptians feel like they are badly governed. employment and jobs are a huge problem. 40% of the population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day. and i think also the, you know, you see a lot of young kind of educated people taking part in these demonstrations and it's
just because they graduate from universities, and under nasser in the old days they were all guaranteed jobs. and the government's done away with that. it can't guarantee jobs any more. but people come out of university with certain expectations that they're going to be employed and they're just not met. and in addition, in egypt and in recent years there's just been a sense that the government doesn't care any more. there's been a string of kind of disasters. there was a train incident i covered where cars on a train caught fire and 300 people burned to death and they just kind of uncoupled the rest of the train and went on its way. and there was a ferry sinking where i think a thousand people died and the government almost reacted -- didn't react until people demonstrated and were furious about what the safety standards were. and on and on, incidents like that. and i think that over the years there was always, when i lived
there there was always the sense of the anger bleeneetsdz the surface. and then -- beneath the surface. and along came tunisia where people will know that there was a street vendor who was harassed by the police and had his vegetables that he served used to earn a little bit every day in order to feet his family and he set himself on fire and that sparked the protest that eventually forced the president to flee the country. and while all countries are not monolithic, they all have certain characteristics, they all certain share certain problems and economic grievances and there's no space to criticize the government exists in all of them, although egypt is far freer than tunisia was. but i think the egyptians seeing what happened in tunisia thought, well, we can probably do that here. and egyptians are also very
proud and they have a sense that they sort of set the model for the middle east. i'm sure there's a little bit of nationalistic pride saying if the tune etions do it we ought to be able to do it as well. that's where we have ended up with five days of street battle so far. >> we're speaking with the united nations bureau chief for the "new york times." what kind of discussions have you been hearing so far in the united nations about how this might be handled? and might this ultimately come in front of the national security council? >> you know, the united nations has been kind of quiet over the past two days. they actually didn't work because they had a snow day on thursday because of the storm. and you know, they've sort of said that not just egypt but
all countries in the arab world ought to take the current unrest as sort of an opportunity to review their policies and institute reform when it comes to civil society. and the human rights commissioner, who is based in geneva issued a statement saying it's a fine time to lift those emergency laws that have been in place for 30 years. and also, anybody who carries out any violence should be prosecuted. >> will the security council play a role? >> it's a tricky issue because it involved -- they're mandated to ensure international peace and security. and certain countries, russia in particular, usually object to the idea of internal political matters being brought before the council because they sort of feel like it sets a
precedent. and then it will give the security council an ex cuse to pronounce on all sorts of internal problems around the world. i think the only way it would be interfere, if it interfered with traffic in the suez canal or there was some sort of long-term implications that spilled outside egypt. otherwise, i doubt they would reach the consensus to pronounce on it. >> one last question for you, kneel neil. mohammed albare day was among the protesters on friday in cairo, and according to several reports one in the "new york times," international section, he may be under house arrest or at least he has been encouraged not to leave his house. what are you hearing in the halls of the u.n.? any kind of concerns for his safety and his well being? >> you know, he worked for the
iaea from 1984 until he retired a couple years ago. so he is one of them. so they've been calling for his release. and i think it is part of that whole package about instituting some kind of reform. >> neil has been speaking to us from new york. thank you very much for being on the program. >> any time. >> back to our conversation regarding what roles should the u.s. play in egypt's future. our first call comes from south carolina on our line for republicans. rita, you're on the "washington journal." caller: good morning. i've been watching the news and about the concerns in the middle east. in egypt i am quite concerned and i whole heartly understand the grievances of the egyptian
people. but in this process, i have yet to hear any concerns about who would replace the president. who would be a strong leadership role? because egypt plays a strong leadership role for middle east peace between the middle-eastern nations and israel. they have yet to say who would be a good replacement for them. i whole heartedly stand behind our president obama and as well as our secretary of state hillary clinton. thank you very much. host: manhattan, new york, on our line for democrats. matt, you're next on our line. caller: thank you for c-span. i think that oddly republicans and democrats agree on the issue of staying out of egyptian politics. you know, it's funny because i think that had we stayed out of iraq, this is the kind of thing that -- a lot of people have said, that they thought would
eventually happen in iraq, 10, 20, 30 years out and hopefully will spill into iran without us firing a shot. but you know, the u.s. has to pull back on its military presence around the world. we should not be mettling in middle east. we could save billions, let europe take care. we should pull out of germany, we should pull out of japan, we should pull out of korea. the military writes its on legislation. they tell the american people what they want done, how they want it done, what they're going to spend on weapons systems. we should stay out of middle east politics. we should stay out of egypt. and we should really be pushing our elected representatives to pull back on military presences throughout the entire world. thank you for c-span. host: the "new york times" lead editorial this morning.
back to the phones. what role should the u.s. play in egypt's future. our next call from california. michael on our line for independents. good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to say also i tend to agree with the man who just now spoke to you. i believe that the united states needs to learn how to mind its own business. if you look at this on a macro
level, you could see clearly that if anybody comes into your house and intrudes in your business, you're not going to stand for it. and i just wonder why nobody else can't see why china, russia, other great powers don't seem to be having all these problems. the united states puts the states on everything when it should be using the united nations. if it's trying to promote democracy it should use those nations that are democratic. but it should not be getting involved with these people's business or worrying about why you've got so many terrorists at the back door. host: there's been a lot of discussion about egypt being the u.s.'s closest arab ally in that region of the world. if they ask for assistance, what should we do? caller: well, you see, if you look at the united states on the map, you can see how far away we are from everybody. you really have to go far away into other nations to get into their business. so if you could do things on a
political point of view or maybe appeal to someone on a political point of view like talking, that's one way. but to threaten them with military whatever, that's not going to work. and hithes just going to cause another blow back. so fick say. one thing i would like to say. if obama thinks he can order that man over there watching that president over there order him to stop strip searching us at the airport. host: we'll leave it there and move on to joyce at memphis, tennessee on our line for republicans. caller: good morning. i saw people holding gas cans ters and weapons that they took away from the military. those weapons and gas canisters had u.s.a. lablings. why can we sale detonations to
rivals and guns to the people but we can't put our american people to work selling furniture and refrigerators and toys and things? all that comes here from china but we can sell weapons to all those middle-eastern countries. and i want to tell the egyptian people when you take over make sure that you treat your christian populations well. you know that the holy book does not say to treat our christians any worse. and they don't have a good record on that. but i love the egyptian people. i have been ejippings -- [inaudible] but you must when you take over treat everybody well.
and we need to sell the world products that we are getting from china. host: we'll leave it there. we're going to move on to ohio. annie on our line for democrats. and we want to let our viewers know that throughout our conversation this morning regarding the uprising in egypt we'll be showing live video from aljazeera. you'll be seeing some of the activity going on in cairo. caller: first, we just all hope that the protests are peaceful in regards to the military and those in the streets. but i mean, the role in regard to the u.s., i mean, we've had our fingers in that bart of the world tooch, -- part of the world too much, too long. and let's hope the u.s. supports the head of the iaea for so long and that they really support him to be the leader in that transition.
and, you know, but the only thing about him, he'll have forces against him in the u.s. because he has been pushing for a long time that israel open up to inspections as well as india and pakistan. so he wants that to be a level playing field as far as nuclear weapons inspections. but i found it kind of fascinating, who like who they cover in regard to the protest in that part of the world. they will not cover that protest, they'll cover the protest in iran but they won't cover the palestinians who have been protesting for years peacefully. host: and we'll leave it there. in the new york post this morning, egypt ult matium is the headline.
back to the phones. new jersey, david on our line for republicans. caller: good morning. host: what role should the u.s. play in egypt's future? caller: i don't think we should play any. and i always get a kick out of the fact that so p many people call and they seem to behave like the muslim world are just
people who are our influence makes them behave certain ways. if we behave a certain way, if we be nice to them they will behave nicely. if we get involved in something that will cause them to riot or kill, it's just a strange way that we internalize everything. we blame ourselves. it's interesting. i'm glad that lady brought up the topic of christians. those reports i've been reading for the last year get a little tiny paragraph in my brief section of my paper where christian churches have been set upon, they've been attacked, they've been dragged from churches and killed by the followoers of the prophet of peace. the same thing in nigeria we don't hear at christmas time people caroling in churches were killed. the churches were burned do you know by muslims, pastors churches were burned. the same thing with the cartoon controversy. christians were killed there.
our line for democrats. bill, you're on the washington journal. >> good morning. host: what role should the u.s. play in egypt's future, do you think? caller: i think the role that the u.s. has played in egypt for the last 30 years has been disastrous. we've given this country over $40 billion and i would probably bet that half of that is in a bank account for mu bark. he has done nothing for the people. we have seen this over again with the country. we saw it with the shah of iran, we saw it in chile. we saw it with nor yagea in panama. this is our foreign policy. we bribe these dictators to do what they do to their people and then after 20, 30, 40 years they fall apart and we stand
around and act like we don't understand what's happening. we understand what's happening. we have to stop bribing these dictators with my tax dollars because if i could vote on it i would have told them 20 years ago to stop giving aid to all of these dictators. it does us no good. host: bill in st. charles, missouri. on twitter we've got this message. long island, new york. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm fearful that the islamic brotherhood will take over the country because as we've seen dictator fall, the vacuum is generally filled by the next most powerful institution. unfortunately in the middle east it's islam.
and we've seen what happened with izz lackic dictatorships -- islamic dictatorships. everyone was concerned about the shah being a dictator. look who's replaced him. as far as the "new york times" saying the brotherhood was surprised, i would like to know how they know that i t is just their opinion. i wouldn't be surprised if they're not fomenting this. they'd better hope the military takes over because if not all the christians will have to leave the country. as it is, they're trying in the middle east to drive all the christians out by burning do you know churches, et cetera. -- down churches. host: sacramento, california. wendy. caller: wendell. host: i'm sorry.
caller: i think our greatest problem we have right now is that america is seen as a country that does not have more or less but it has interests. we have so many big businesses in this country that want to go overseas and use people for their slave labor. so we're telling the american people that we're over there fighting everywhere we're at to support people's rights to be free and rights to live in reality our military presence is there to ensure that our military can stay in business and use those people for slave labor taking jobs away from american citizens. and if we're not careful here in the united states, we'll find the republican party now all throughout the south saying we no longer want the federal government to interfere with us deme more. we want to be able to lower the minimum wage and the federal government say nothing about it. we are really supporting slavery overseas and we're trying to bring slavery back in many parts of the united states. so instead of us trying to
liberate people so that they can be free, we're actually in the republican party trying to turn back time. they even have a proposition out now where they want to rewrite the history books in the south to make robert lee a hero. it's a shame that in this country you have so many people who are still incarcerated. host: we're going off the rails there. we've got another twitter message. back to the phones. pittsburgh, pennsylvania. caller: good morning. we need to stay out of egypt's business. we have seen in the past with iran specifically what supporting these repressive pupt regimes gets us. and it is going to do no good to support him.
our state department should abandon mu bark and support the people having the demonstrations. the problem with america is we want democracy, we want to convert countries to democracy as long as it's our form and our choice of the democratic role. if you can convert a country to democracy and the majority of the people elect to have a hamas style government, well, that's their decision. and we have to live with that. host: thank you and thanks to all the folks that called in in our opening segment. we're going to ache a short break. when we come back we'll be talking with the vice president for programs at the international republican institute. he'll be talking to us about the current situation, the unrest in egypt.
host: tom garrett is the vice president for programs with the international republican institute and is here to talk with us about the unrest in egypt. good morning and welcome. guest: good morning. tell host: tell us from your perspective what is the situation over there and how close is egypt to some kind of political overthrow. guest: i think the situation in egypt is so radically different from what it was just a week ago. yesterday, we saw the police not only leaving the streets but also being driven from their police stations around the country. that's an important change. because the police have actually operated without really a lot of accountability.
they have violated human rights consistently in egypt. they have beaten people on the streets with impunity. and the fact that they have now fled the streets while at the same time the headquarters of the national democratic party, which is the president's party, is lying in smoldering ruins this morning. it stheas the situation is very, very different. it's a game changer. host: they're beating back the police. but in some areas of cairo we hear reports that they're actually welcoming the military. explain that. guest: well, i think probably they're looking at the lesson of tunisia just about a week ago in which riot police attempted to protect the dictatorship of the president and was actually the military that stepped in and more or less forced the president to leave the country along with the protesters. so i think what the people of egypt are looking at is the abysmal human rights record of the riot police of egypt and the professional record of its military. host: now, you were in tunisia
last week. tell us a little bit about what you saw on the ground there and make some comparisons between what you saw in tunisia and what you're watching in egypt. guest: wung of the biggest comparisons i can make between what's occurring now in egypt is that these protests are not driven by any single factor except they want the dictator out. the president in tunisia had government uninterrupted for 24 years. the president in egypt is in his third decade of governance with intentions to pass the presidency to his son. people are driven by issues of unemployment, under employment. they're concerned about police corruption, they're concerned about government corruption. all these different factors are involved. but the one key target of protest in tunisia and in egypt is removal of the dictator. host: did the unrest in tunisia lead directly to the unrest in egypt? the people were watching it and
say, hey, if these guys are going to riot and get what they want, we're going to do this? or were they two separate occurrences? guest: i do believe they are linked in some way. i wouldn't say what occurred first. what's going on in egypt has surprised a lot of people. but if you look on april 6, el, there was a series of demonstrations across egypt that caught the government off guard and that was actually a face book internet driven series of demonstrations. so this has been building for some time. but i think certainly the people of egypt saw what was going on in tunisia and it drow them to greater action. host: we're continuing our discussion on the unrest in egypt with tom garrett, vice president for programs with the international republican institute. if you'd like to get involved in the conversation, by all means give us a call.
yesterday, in response to what's been going on in the last -- during the last week in egypt, the president came out and made a statement. we're going to show you a little bit of what he had to say and then get tom garrett's response. >> i have a firm belief and conviction that we will continue our political economiccal and social reforms. for a free and democratic egyptian society. embracing the modern principles and opening to the world. i have taken the side and will always be taking the side of the poor people of egypt. convinced that the economy is too dangerous to be left to economists alone. i have always been keen on directing the government's
policies towards economic reforms to be expedited and speeded up to lift the suffering of the people. our plans to combat unemployment and provide more educational services, health care, housing, and many other services to the youth and citizens will remain conditional on our efforts to maintain egypt's secure, stable, and homeland of civilized people. that cannot jeopardize its as pration to future or leave it to go do you know down the drain. host: tom garrett of the international republican institute, do you see this speech that mu bark made last night as a way of saying that i'm here to stay, i'm going to stick this thing out? or is it sort of the beginning
of his swan song and maybe he's going to step aside? guest: inthe speech how out of touch he is with the people of egypt. the people have not been protesting against ministers of the government. they have protested against him. and so him throwing his cabinet under the bus so to speak and saying he would move them all out i think had little impact in the few people we've been able to be in touch with in egypt since the speech have indicated that the speech actually infuriated people. once again, a lesson in tunisia. on january 13, the president gave a speech that many western observers thought would buy him needed time. instead, the style of the speech and the content of the speech so outraged tune eeshens that by the next day he was on a plane to saudi arabia. host: give us a brief explanation of what the institute is, please. guest: in 1983 the national endowment for democracy was
created by an act of the u.s. congress and signed into law by president reagan. and it was meant to provide americans support to democracy movements around the world. when that endowment was created, four institutes were created as part of its overseas reach. the republican institute, a democrat institute, a labor institute, and a business institute. the four institutes work very closely together. nonideologically, we don't have any partisan differences overseas. but we work to support democracy movements wherever they occur. host: our first call for tom garrett comes from dan on our line for democrats out of new york. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i do not believe that we belong meddling in the egyptian affairs or anybody else in the middle east. and i want everybody to take a good hard look at their tv sets this morning.
those are american tanks, those are american personnel care yers, and yes, those are american made gas canisters being fired at those people. and what we have done is we have enabled the dictator for the last 30 years to oppress his people. so the next time an airplane flies into a sky scrape anywhere this country, everybody has their answer. look at your tvs, people. the answer is right there. host: we'll leave it there. tom. guest: well, i would say that whatever we think at the moment about past u.s. policy towards egypt, the people of egypt i think very definitely see the u.s. involved. as the caller said, everyone is holding up tear gas canisters that say made in the u.s.a. i didn't see a single newscast that didn't feature that at some point. we are involved in egypt at the moment and the people see us as involved. and what i think is critical at this moment for the future of
our elations is whether or not we're going to stand with the people or if we're going to stand with the government. host: columbia, south carolina. jimmy on our line for independents. go ahead. caller: good morning. we have enslaved the entire arab world. just in egypt alone so that a handful of jews can maintain their occupation of palestinian lands. i am elated this morning because this is the first step towards the destruction of israel. host: i don't see any connection between israel and what's going on in egypt. can you make that call for me? caller: yers. yes, sir. the $2 million given to egypt every year is for their peace. well, that's just [inaudible]
for peace with israel. he has denied the palestinians food coming from egypt because of the israelis. host: we'll leave it there. tom. guest: well, let's just say that in washington i think a lot of important policies are being considered now as regards to egypt. but if you look at the people in egypt right now, they're not speaking about the israeli-arab peace process. they're not speaking about islamics coming to office. they're speaking about they don't have food, they don't have freedom. they're beaten in the streets by the police with impunity. >> host: throughout our conversation we'll be using live video coming in. our next call comes from pennsylvania on our line for democrats. jane, you're on the "washington journal". caller: my question is, i agree with these people being able to
have their demonstration and peaceful demonstration. my problem is, is there any problem at all of someone possibly coming in who might be islamic fundament list? that's my question. guest: i think if you look at the last presidential election that did take place in egypt although it was tilted in favor of the president, it was not a free and fair election, you still had a moderate centrist come in number two. i think the alternative that many people are speaking about might be mohammed albardi. so i think there is probably some degree of concern about this issue as to who replaces him. but at the same time i think if you look there are very definitely mainstream
alternatives to his rule. host: is there any chance that this is going to turn into a situation much like iran during its revolution in the early 80's where the political situation was put into an upheavel and the religious faction came in and took over the country? >> i suppose anything could happen. and certainly there is a strong traditional religious bloc in egypt. but again, there's also a very large number of people who have been attempting to just build their middle class lifes. so regardless of that, it's really for the ejippingses to eside dr -- egyptians to decide. caller: i think we're kind of kidding ourselves. we're having a conversation about who we should stand with and what should be we do. it is going to end up being who do -- what do they want. i mean, we're kidding ourselves
that a part of they're seeing images of innocent iraqis dead and pakistanis at our hands, and some of the double standards with israel. i think that this is going to cause us to get pulled in even further. we've got a neo conservative foreign policy that i think they're going to try to figure out a way to get us even more involved in these areas when we should be trying to figure out a way to get out. guest: well, this is an egyptian moment. this is for the egyptian people and they're taking the reins of power in their country. what happened in tunisia was a tunisian moment because the people of tunisia decided enough is enough. but what is important is they do look to the united states for either signals of friendship and support for democracy or they look to see support out of touch, autcratic
dictators. so it is a choice for the united states to make as well. host: minnesota on our line for independents. go ahead. caller: good morning. today i woke up today and i had seen this on the tv and i feel like the government period just needs to stay out of the whole egyptian, and not just egypt but the whole economy. it goes to way beyond this. and it's not just about israel yite or israelic brotherhood. i think it's also a government tool. brotherhood is going back to deep within this that's causing all this to happen, which corruption is going to happen because of this. if that makes sense. host: tom, how much of the folks that are out there rioting right now in egypt and in tunisia see this as an
american problem as well as an internal problem in their own country? guest: i saw a protester in cairo last night who said we don't care if american is concerned about islamists or the peace process. this is about us. and i think that's very important for us to keep in mind. again, the people at the state department, the white house, they obviously have to be concerned about these questions. but we can't lose track of the fact these are people calling out for freedom. host: we've got an e-mail from paul who writes guest: i don't really know what the extent of u.s.-economic interests are concerning shipping in the suez canal. one important thing i think to -- one important point right
now is that supporting president mubark doesn't guarantee stability. we are not in control for keeping the environment safe for business. that's past us now. we're looking forward to will the people of egypt that will emerge as the people who govern themselves, will they believe the united states was a friend in that process or will they believe the united states was an impedment in that process. host: tom, vice president for programs recently back from a trip to tunisia where he spoke to many act viveses now taking leadership positions in tunisia. here to talk to us about what's going on there as well as the unrest in egypt. our next call from new jersey. mary, you're on the "washington journal." go ahead. caller: good morning. i hope people who see those tear gas cans ters marked "made
in the u.s.a." realize how far reaching eisenhower's warning regarding the military industrial complex is. it's not -- does not only apply to us here in the united states but applies to many areas abroad. thank you. guest: without digging too deep in history, you mentioned president eisenhower. in my first trip to egypt to meet with democratic reformers, they mentioned president eisenhower standing up for egypt in 1956 during the suez crisis and i thought that was very telling they have to reach back to 1956 to speak positively about an american president. this is again where we are. we're poised at -- we're at a turning point in where the egyptians will either see the united states as a friend again as in 1956 or will see us as supporting and propping up an out-of-touch dictatorship. host: maryland, on our line for
democrats. go ahead. caller: i would like to make a few comments. first, republicans should not criticize egypt's leader too much because the bush administration's c.i.a. were bringing people to egypt to be tortured under what's called rendition. secondly, i'm not surprised that it showed up in egypt so quickly. i reminds me of when the bush administration's negroponte talked -- they're smart to put him under protection for his own safety. also, the uprising during iran's election was instigated by the c.i.a. and i don't blame obama. there is still remnants of bush's c.i.a. in power and we should be very worried. host: your thoughts. guest: well, i would say that the president has been in office through a number of american administrations both democrat and republican. it was u.s. policy up until
really just the last few years ago to support stability and to pursue stability in the middle east and not to promote democracy as we did in the rest of the world. i think what's changed today is arab people the united states facing a choice. do they stand up for changes in their country or do we stay with this policy, which is we support stability in the middle east. host: if the president either directly oirn directly has anything to do with the house arrest as has been reported encouraged to stay in his house, is it because he is concerned about the safety and is worried about what might happen if something happens to him? or is he trying to silence albarreda's voice as an
opponent to the must be ark administration? guest: i would say he is trying to silence him. if you look at the 2005 election, the man that came in number two, was within a year's time placed in an egyptian prison on trumped-up charges. and noor has actually been out on the streets in this demonstration since they began a few days ago. so i would say that people that are being locked up as a matter of fact some of the people that we know through our work in egypt through the years, people are being locked up because they are considered to be a threat, not because they are being considered to be at risk. host: do eff people on the ground in egypt now and have you had a chance to talk to them? guest: we do have people on the ground now in egypt. i should point out in 2006 we were told we would not be allowed to work inside of egypt. but we did keep an office, and that office brought egyptian activists out of the country and we provided them training
in other places such as jordan and dubai and in europe. so we have kept an office there. we have been in sporadic contact with the people on the ground. and it's a situation that's caused some concern to us because it is difficult to know exactly what is going on in these various neighborhoods in cairo. i would just add that among those people that we've trained, over a thousand people from egypt since 2007, several of them were arrested in the early days of this week. and so as the administration is calling upon the obama administration is calling upon president must beric to restore communications and access to the internet, i would also ask them to demand that those people arrested because they were using facebook and organizing on the internet also be freed. host: back do the phones. watertown, new york, on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: good morning. i've been watching all of this
live on olo.tv. and it's really quite interesting to see what's going on over there and watching this unfold. it's also interesting to learn that the aid that the united states gives egypt is predominantly military aid. so a lot of people here in the u.s. could be confused as to what kind of aid this is. it's military aid. and last night i was listening to that terrible shawn handy already saying that this is an iranian style revolution and what he's trying to do is create a situation where we think that it's iranian or muslim brotherhood and in
reality it's the people. what we have to do is be at the sharp edge of supporting the people over there and not pull a shawn hanty trying to create division right from the get-go. host: tom. guest: well, i think there's a lot of confusion in the united states as to what exactly is going on. but i would refer you to a statement made by the new chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, i williana ross laten which was one of the strongest to come out on friday which said egyptian cries for freedom can no longer be sup pressed. and i think that's what is going on there. we have a lot of policy issues that washington needs to be concerned about but at the base we have to keep in mind these are egyptian people who have suffered for 30 years under a one-party dictatorship and they are now seeking freedom. host: secretary of state
clinton yesterday also talked about the situation and the u.s.'s desire to partner with egypt on human rights issues. let's take a look at what she had to say and then we'll get your response. >> we want to partner with the egyptian people and their government to realize their aspirations to live in a democratic society that respects basic human rights. when i was recently in the region, i met with a wide range of civil society groups. and i heard from them about ideas they have that would improve their country's. the people of the middle east like people everywhere are seeking a chance to contribute and to have a role in the decisions that will shape their lives. host: tom, your thoughts of what the secretary of state had
to say. guest: well, i think secretary clinton is right on when she said the people of the middle east are like people everywhere. but i think for too long, some 60 years the united states did not sursue a policy that acknowledged that. instead, we said this is an area of the world that needs stability. and we get stability through supporting strong men governments. and instead, what we're seeing are arab people, people of the middle east are just like people everywhere. they want to have descent jobs, they want to have descent wages, they want to provide for their children. so i think the secretary is right and i think her words are probably of support and comfort to the egyptian people. host: cleveland, ohio on our line for democrats. caller: hi. happy new year, everyone. the egyptian people don't like their social assignment. thus, they have rebelling.
it's an antiquated mindset that subgates the people and it's happening all over. the florin tine banking system is what is used to suppress the economic growth and the market management of everyone in the world. we must end this and democrat ties our democracies. host: we'll leave it there. we've got an e-mail from new york
guest: i think by way of background, i would like to point out that the president has actively sup pressed for decades middle class moderate mainstream political movements in the country. and the reason today so many people are concerned that we are confronted with either a mu bark presidency or the muslim brotherhood is really the cause of what he has done. he has created this situation for the united states now to deal with. so i would say that the united states standing by democracy in practice, democracy in application do no -- will do more to support the democracy in egypt. host: our last call comes from detroit, michigan. bishop on our line for independents. caller: thank you for allowing me to speak. i think that people ought to
look at this situation and understand this. that the world is getting smaller. and the situation that you see there, you see here, you see it there. you see that there are people who have interests. business interests, money interests. that superseeds the interests of the people. they've gone on here in america. people are being put out of work. and we're not standing by democratic ideals. we send our jobs to communist countries that have no interest in what we're doing. so what you see here is that there is a plan that's being implemented and our leaders are supposed to be for the people and by the people are actually being handed their marching orders from an unseen force. host: we'll leave it there. thanks for the call. tom, you get the last word. guest: well, people have called in this morning and clearly they do have concerns about
what's going to happen without him if he is to leave. and i just want to remind you again, these are people in egypt who are asking after 30 years of long suffering for a chance to have representative government, to have participatory democracy, and i think it is important the united states take their side. host: tom garrett of the international republican institute. thanks for being on the program this morning. coming up in about 45 minutes, a discussion regarding civil liberties and the patriot act. but after our break we'll be talking about the fiscal condition of the united states. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> a lot of the actions that harry truman took made my life easier as president and therefore many of the decisions i made through executive order are the most controversial orders i made such as listening to the phone calls of people who might do us harm or enhanced interrogation techniques became the law of the land. in other words, after the 04 elections and after the 06 elections i went to congress
and said we need to ratify through legislative action that which i had done within the constitution by executive order. and so the congress in spite of the fact that we had been tough, passed law that now enables a president to have these certain tools. and people say why didn't you just leave it under executive order? and the reason why in some cases it might be too hard politically for a president to put out an executive order that, for example, authorized enhanced interrogation techniques. but if that were law of the land passed by a legislative body it might be easier for that person to use that technique. >> see the entire interview sunday night. "washington journal" continues. host: joining us to talk about the fiscal condition of the u.s. is douglas holets akin, former congressional director of the congressional budget
office and currently a commissioner with the fiscal crisis inquiry commission who released their report earlier this week and also wrote an op ed in the "wall street journal" on thursday. what caused the financial crisis. so let's start there. what caused the financial crisis? guest: i wrote this with keith hensy and bill thomas, two cocommissioners, and we really point to a list of ten factors. and i think the key there is that there isn't some simplele story that you can say it was this or that. it was a very complicated event driven a lot by some international condition,, credit bubbles, housing bubbles, including the u.s. once the housing bubble broke it spread to the rest of the financial system through a series of problems with securitization, these complex securities, the credit rating agencies, and ultimately big financial institutions who did not understand the risks on their books and once they
understood what kind of trouble they were in we had a panic of the most old-fashioned type. host: you write in november 2009 article, martin baily and douglas elliott describe the three common naretives about the crisis. the guest: commissioner peter wolson has argued in public and with the commission pretty vosiffrussly that the pretty most important thing that happened was they were told to issue mortgages to unqualified borrowers and that was a stated policy of the united states to lend to people who couldn't repay and that the number of such mortgages and the dollar value was so large that when they went bad that was it. we disagree.
we think that simple narrative under scores other problems. there's other problems on wall street. it focuses just on the u.s. and a lot of this is global in nature. host: why would anyone want to force these home loans on people they knew couldn't pay them back? guest: that's part of the question. you have -- it had been a policy of both republicans and democrats to give americans homes. we have mortgage interest deductions, we have loan guarantees, we have subsidies for borrowers. and politicians love the american dream of a family in a home. so certainly that contributed. but we don't think that's the only cause of the crisis. host: you also wrote that the second narrative blames wall street and its influence in washington.
so why would they intentionally jeopardize the financial system that in essence pays for their existence? guest: we don't agree with that because it doesn't make a lot of sense. you're going to find lots of bad actors and bad actions, and that's indisputeable. but we don't think you can make the argument that wall street alone, both through unregulated greed and then purchase of power in washington, created this crisis. it would be a self-defeating move. host: you also talk about a third narrative that you subscribe to, a messier story that emphasizes both global and failures in u.s. policy and super vision. were there enough bubbles and sort of strange economic
activity going on outside of the u.s. that had someone been paying attention they could have seen that it was coming to our shores? host: there was an active debate. if you go back to 2005, 2006, 2007, was it a bubble, was it sustainable? people were looking but no one i think grasped in the moment the magnitude and potential fallout from this. and the reason we're nervous about simple explanations is while they're appealing and you can go on tv and do them, it leads you do you know the wrong path. the one there says it's wall street greed misses the fact that fannie mae and freddie back were ordered to do some things. the orts one that says we have to regulate less misses the problems that mortgages were given to people who could not repay them. and the entire focus on the u.s. miss the fact that in england we had failures of big
banks and the government had to take them over in the same way we had a bailout. and spain had a bubble. the list goes on and on. host: at the time released the chair phil had some comments that he made regarding the report and some of the things that were inside the report. he outlines what he says. and then we'll get a response. >> we concluded first and foremost that this crisis was avoidable. despite the expressed view of many in the circles that the crisis could not have been foreseen, there were many, many warning signs that were ignored or discounted. second, we found widespread failures in financial regulation. third, our report describes dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance and risk management. fourth, we detail how the
explosive brood capessive borrowing risky investments put our financial system on a collision course with crisis. fifth, we concluded that key policy makers, our government, was ill prepared for this crisis. and that their inconsistent response added to uncertainty and panic. and finally, this report explains how breaches in accountability and ethics became widespread at all lels during the run-up to the crisis. guest: many of the things that the chairman mentions there are in our dissent. our real points of disagreement come in two forms. if you read the 500 page put out it blames everything -- if everything caused the financial crisis then nothing did. you have to answer the charge that congress gave us which is to say what things in the past were crucial and necessary in order to have a crisis of the proportions that we
experienced. and we didn't see that. the second is the notion that the crisis was avoidable suggests that people were smart enough to see it and drove straight toward it anyway. and we would say we disagree with both. host: we're talking about the fiscal condition of the u.s. with douglas holets akin, currently a commissioner with the financial crisis inquiry commission. if you want to get involved in the conversation, our numbers are on the bottom of your screen. we also showed you very briefly the report, the financial crisis inquiry commission report. and if you would like to read it you can find it on their website. our first call comes from clearwater, florida on our line for republicans. go ahead. guest: i wanted to comment about the deficit and i wanted
to get his opinion on my idea that basically take care of this entire deficit. now, right now we have 47% of wage earners don't pay any taxes. so my solution would be a complete simplification of our tax code. you would have a $10,000 for individual, $20,000 for a married couple, and $3,500 per child. no credits no anything. and the only other deduction you can have is the 10% charitable donation deduction. and then you start the bottom bracket at 5% and end at 25%. anything over that deduction, you pay based on a graduated tax form. host: we'll leave it there. your thoughts. guest: the caller points out that the u.s. tax code is a disaster area and a lot of people agree with that.
there have been two major commissions to address the u.s. budget deficit, one appointed by the president, one a private sector effort. both of them concluded that as part of addressing the deficit you should have tax reform, that was the route to higher revenues. but also importantly pointed out by saying you could not solve it by taxes alone. that the problem was on the spending side. host: craig, you're on the washington journal. caller: i have two comments to make. one is about as every republican knows that wall street was bundling those high risk home loans together and selling them. he can sit there and give that republican response that it wasn't wall street's fault for the financial crisis. it's a talking point. they've rigged the system. and the second thing, this guy calls himself an economist. they've been pushing this free
trade stuff for 20-some years which has really worked out for us. and now, he supported the bush tax cuts. all the republicans can talk about is cutting this and cutting that when eisenhower was president of high tax rate was 92%. how much more, sir, how much more do you want to take out of the middle class of america? . .
you could sell it for more then you landed on it. -- lended on it. guest: there were stories of people buying homes in flipping homes. that was very real. in some of the testimony, we had wall street executives say they never thought housing prices would go down. that was wrong. it was not really taking care of risk. the job of a financial executive is to manage risk. that is what they do. i think the housing issue pervaded every one. >> the gambling analogy comes up a lot. the callers have mentioned this a couple of times.
gamblers will tell you that to the house always win. who is the house in this case? guest: everyone lost. the big financial companies, many went out of existence. many had to become bank holding companies. executives lost their jobs. the economy got hammered. the average american got hurt. there are no winners here. that is the sad lesson in history. host: barbour, democrats. caller: our country wants to take from in the middle class to pay the debt off. about fannie mae, many say they
gave house as to the poor people. if you look closely, they gave it to people that had money that could flip houses. they wanted them to stay in their houses. fannie mae and president obama, when fannie mae started to help people that they gave these options to refinance their mortgages, my daughter is one of them. she cannot refinance the mortgage on her house. look at what we are giving to other countries. we can put our debt down by lowering that. guest: if you look at our budget deficit, they are so large. projected $1.50 trillion next year. elimination of a foreign aid does not come close to addressing the issue.
on the fannie mae, freddie mac policy, it was the stated goal of the congress. they had affordable housing goals. a certain fraction of their loans had to be made on an income category. that is part of what drove in come to -- to low-income individuals. host: if you want to read the report that came out this week, you can find it on there website. cape cod, massachusetts, republican line. caller: good morning, thank you for sees them. it seems that wall street is leaning toward a democrat and a liberal thinking.
everybody around my area solve this problem years ago where people were getting way too much money for houses and financing for real money. see the't wall street problem? why didn't the government see the problem way before it all happened? people were saying seven years before the fall, things were not right. host: if people were saying this, why didn't anybody step up and say the bank or someone is offering meet this much money, and i know i cannot pay it back. why don't i borrow a smaller amount of money? caller: one of the problems we saw here, people were doing banking online. there was no income verification. there was no residence verification. a lot of funny things going on.
money was free and so cheap. we were wondering how could this guy be getting money from an institution out in california, and they are not even citizens in the united states. it is a very common thing that happens this way. it cleaned a lot of money off of the top and went back to their nation of origin. guest: he talks about a lot of complicated facts on this one. greedy people -- they have always been here. you have to look deeper than greed. the notion of having cheap money is a part of this. ben bernanke said it was a global savings glut. it was a sea of money pouring into the united states and elsewhere to finance houses and credit. we had big credit bubbles and
housing bubbles not just here, but around the globe. why didn't we see it and why could we stop it? many put a lot of blame on alan greenspan for not stopping mortgage lending to people that could not pay. it seems like it could be an explanation except when you see the same problems in england, spain, germany, under very different federal reserve style regulations. host: tell us about the process regarding the commission. who did you meet and have as witnesses? what did it take to write about this 545 page report? guest: congress created the commission in 12 -- 2008 for
2009. we were appointed in march or april. i was appointed by mitch mcconnell. there were six appointed by democrats and a quarter by republicans. we begin meeting in the summer of 2009. we had some hearings and a staff of about 50. we have a subpoena power and cooperation of the oversight agencies such as the federal reserve. people with interest in oversight of the financial system. we met on a very regular basis to decide what would be fruitful and what were the witnesses we would like to have a in our hearings. begot government witnesses, hank paulson -- we got the government witnesses, hank paulson, other executives from
citigroup, goldman sachs, of lehman brothers, lynch. we had access to anything we wanted to know. it was nearly two years long. i think we did a great job of documenting the facts. i think what will be the lasting contribution is an archive of testimony, a document, and the written record of the commission any historian or citizen can go to the website and look through. we also left behind three different stories that went on. the majority to reject majority report, our descent, and in other persons descent. we are still arguing about what caused the depression 80 years later. >> the report out now. what happens? it goes to congress or the white
house? guest: that question has been there all along. before we were appointed, the president put out his proposal for financial reform in congress passed a bill. there has been a hanging question all of the time which is, what are you guys around? the american citizens want to know what went on. this is an enormous national tragedy. we may have found some things that they did not think about. host: if you want to go back and look at some of those commission hearings, you can find it on our c-span video library. go to our web site c-span.org and the it will take you through
the system. michigan, democrats line. caller: midmorning, my name is valerie. i cannot believe what i am hearing. it is not that complicated. even a ray charles can see what went on. these people were after the new deal, roosevelt's program. they had to get the government to say that they could not afford to deal with social security, medicaid, unemployment insurance, that the people pay in themselves and have earned a right to have. all of these programs, they have never liked them. they have been after them for the last 50 years. the only hurt the poor, middle- class, and the working class -- not the rich. nobody rich got hurt, even if there were $2 billion in
losses, they are still sitting pretty. it is only hurting the working people. it is not that complicated. we have too many intelligent people. how can they not know what was going on if they are so intelligent? it is just that simple. if anybody ran a business like that, they would be in jail. there are people doing life in prison for stealing. host: we will leave it there. guest: two different phenomenon get mixed up. the nation's finances may get worse before it gets better unless we do something. the financial crisis we went for is the second one. it had big implications, not just because banks were being bailed out or because of failure of wall street firms, but it is drag the economy down in the
worst recession since the great depression. we are focusing on understanding that a better and to make sure we have the lessons learned going forward. host: the new york times has a section. and the washington post, the end of your momentum was driven by private sector. in your opinion, is the economy bouncing back into a positive direction? guest: it is moving back at a pace that we will all find slow. unemployment rates at 9.4%. millions have given up looking. it is probably closer to 16% or 17%. the history of the economy's after a financial crisis is that they do not bounce back. it takes up to five years.
we are in the middle of that. host: in addition to what the commission members thought was the reason for the fiscal, financial crisis, is there anything in the report that talks about the future going forward, and what can be done to get to the economy up and running again? guest: the report was about policy recommendations. tell us what happened. how did we get a financial crisis? if we had an agreement, we could put of policy recommendations. we have seen a wide array of the thames to jump-start the economy. -- of attempts to jump-start the economy. host: next caller. caller: i have to disagree with
you. guo green bay packers. [laughter] host: next call. caller: the reason we are in these mortgages is because of -- host: jacksonville, fla., independent line. caller: this is john. thank you. i saw the panel the other day on c-span regarding bush. i have not read the report. i did not seeing the difference by which the servicers treated
those having problems. in my particular situation, i got a loan. i am not in the category that most people say people who did not have the funds should not have gotten a loan. i have a long history of good earnings and have made economic contributions to this country. as a particular time, i lost funds, got another job, and a loss of that one. i was behind one month. but i was making my payments at
the end of the month. our system failed. , this particular major corporation that changed its name. their system failed. they refused after many emails and many tried to get them to fix their system. they refuse, modify the score went down, and i could not get the fda loan to do the business venture i was doing, which are the set up and was working with a major bank in our area. host: what is your question? caller: why have you not spent a
lot of time discussing the overlord of mentality in of the banking community in dealing with this? i will hang up now. guest: two responses. in the old days, a bank made a loan to a homeowner. there was a relationship there. when a homeowner got in distress, you could figure out how to work it out. ther securitized asiaation, relationship is broken, and someone is just serving the loans and the dynamics of loan distress is changed. that has been a real problem in dealing with those with problems with their mortgages. we cannot figure out who owns the mortgage and who is
responsible when cutting the deal. our job is to focus on because of the crisis not cleaning up after the crisis, which that falls under. host: jacksonville, fla., a republican line. caller: it all sounds really complicated. it seems to mean that the banks were not liable for held to holding on to the mortgage as you mentioned a moment ago. as soon as they're able to take the bad loans and get rid of it, that is when the wheels started falling off. it drives of the tax dollars, which is why the government did not do anything about it. if they did, they would not have any tax money that they have now.
they reverted back 30% of its. they still cannot live off of it. they are trying to offer of even more to get taxes to where they were. then the banks get bailed out by everybody. now they are trying to take their houses now. guest: they bundle these items and sell them off. congress created fannie mae in 1930's. securitization was meant to solve such problems if banks are making loans to homeowners and things go bad, that bank goes under. the idea was to spread the risk across the country and not making individual community banks so invulnerable. it worked beautifully for 80 years.
-- -- so vulverable. it worked beautifully for 80 years. so it can't be just the problem. host: the president spoke about trying to get the financial house in order. let's see what he had to say and then we will get reactions. >> we live and do business in the information age. the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white tv. there are 12 different agencies that deal with this. there are five once the deal with housing policies. then there is my favorite example. the interior example -- agency is dealing with salmon in fresh water but another agency deals
with them when they are in salt water. [unintelligible] [laughter] now -- [applause] we have made great strides in using technology and getting rid of waste. we have sold acres of federal the space that has not been use. ce that hasn't been used in years and we'll cut through red tape to get rid of more. but we need to think bigger. in the coming months, my administration will come up with a proposal to
guest: the greatest lesson is to think back to the creation of the homeland security. 100 now reports to congressional committees and subcommittees. that is not streamlined. but congress wants its thinkers in a lot of things. it is a tough battle, worth pursuing. in the end, having a more streamlined government will not solve our nation's problems. we need to take on these problems next. host: he is a commissioner with the financial crisis enquiry commission. tell us about the form you are a
part of. guest: it is a think tank dedicated to understand these many policy problems we face, budget deficits, financial crises, how to deal with health care reform. what to do with energy policy in the united states. education reform, making sure our kids get the education they deserve and can compete globally. host: democrat line. caller: i want to revisit this mantra that a good portion of the financial crisis was due to fannie mae and freddie mac giving loans to people who could not afford them, based on previous policy. it is very irritating to me because people deserve to have a
home, if they meet criteria for the mortgage. people could afford the sub- prime mortgage, when they were first issued. the problem came with the greeted in that the loan -- the interest rate would increase after a certain amount of time. it would increase by an amount that the home owner had no recognition of. you were not able to anticipate how it was going to be. the mortgage lender could not tell the homeowner how much that increase would be.
the increase was also tied to something obscure such as the libor market. that is one thing. the other thing is dead people who could qualify for standard fixed mortgages were also pushed into the sub-prime market. i understand that it was more profitable. one of my neighbors said that when she took out her mortgage, she was charged points for everything except for what the mortgage broker had on that day. host: did you make your point or do you have a question? caller: i wanted to challenge this mantra of loans going to
people who cannot afford them. guest: loans went to people who cannot afford them. some loans were done in bad faith on both sides. some took loans they had no intention of paying. others took loans and cannot understand what they were getting into. the most important thing is that neither sign cited is interested in a loan if they did not think they could have the house press go up, get a mortgage, and avoid the interest rate increase. host: the last call comes from maryland on the independent line. caller: you say you do not have a problem with the facts and testimony compiled in the report. the conclusions drawn are
different from what you would draw. . what is the basis of your descent? guest: we compiled of the evidence, and our job was more than just collecting the facts. it was telling us what happened. we parted ways fair. we agree with the basic facts. there were a number of factors important. we came down with 10 in a particular order that led to a financial crisis. it is a disagreement on the reading of the record. host: what have we learned to keep us from going down this road again? guest: we always think we have solved this problem. in the end, all financial
institutions lend a long period when things go bad the bank cannot find it in a panic, and expertly managed bank is still. to get in trouble. host: -- is going to get in trouble. host: thanks for joining us. we will take a short break and then look at the news through the eyes of political cartoonists. we will be right back.
>> "washington journal" continues. host: our next guest is here to talk to us about the patriots back due to expire next month. what are your concerns about the reauthorization of the patriot first?t guest guest: there are many concerns. it has been an impetus for regression of the will of wall around the world. the way that it diverts scarce resources from the guilty to the innocent. it can distract law-enforcement attention, alienated communities here and abroad, particular a muslim communities that we need to cultivate against genuine terrorist threats.
it stops us from questioning the foreign policy of the united states in ways that can diminish our soft power and general security. host: we will look through those that are set to expire. the first one allows surveillance with court approval. guest: it is not a bad idea in practice. i new disposable phones are a risk regarding terrorism. you can have a warrant that does not specify if the identity for an individual or a device is of a detailed nature. we have business records or library provisions, not just restricted to documents. governments can seized in a
taxable fang, including blood samples for dna. we need to get back to the constitution's requirement of probable cause and warrant before searching and seizing things that americans have. >> the third provision allows authorities to conduct surveys of individuals in the u.s., even if they are not suspected of being part of a terrorist group. guest: >> it is a redundant provision, never used. it should be eliminated. there are no protection against someone targeted for exercising first amendment rights. host: we are talking about civil liberties and the patriot act. it is due to expire later this year. we will discuss some of this in
congress. we will look at every authorizing those provisions. we want to hear your thoughts and you are part of the conversation. the numbers to call or at the bottom of the screen. you can also send us an electronic message through twitter or e-mail. after 9/11, there was a big fight over the patriots at. is the concern that civil liberties may or may not be violated, is that still as prominent a discussion as it was after 9/11? >> i am afraid it is not. it takes sometimes a generation or two to fix. habeas corpus from abraham lincoln took a few years. we got back to a constitutional
balance after the second world war. but they enacted this long without reading it after 9/11 and anthrax and terrorist attacks. most of the patriot act is enshrined in law permanently. three provisions expire that are of concern. there is greater concern about the material support, domestic terrorism definitions, section 505 is not up for renewal. i could go on and on. there are many provisions in the patrick act. it has a poor constitutional framework. it is the fact based suspicion
required by the constitution, and checks and balances are not required. and if you do not have that, you have things like national security letters that have been noted as being abused by the department of justice during several major reports, where they are not complying with major provisions of the law. our data can be examined without probable cause and without sufficient -- sufficient justification. host: some were talking about extending some of those provisions to help keep america safe. in it, they quoted one congressperson who says as the author of the patriot act and its read authorization in 2005, here is what it says.
guest: i would not buy that. i have testified before congress. i have a problem with the assertions. it is not just me, but numerous scholars and reporters have looked at this. some are really drummed up. the patriot act as an act is not a bad way to think about it. so the of the attacks that you're about at these press conferences turned out to be individuals and trapped by fbi agents. not always. we have to be concerned about terrorism. in the brooklyn bridge attacks,
he was supposed to use a blow torch to cut the cables of the brooklyn bridge -- there is a distinction between real terrorists and those that are paid informants that we offer hundreds of thousands of dollars to -- the person they have as an informant's that runs off of the interests of lonely, young man looking for a higher meaning in terms of combating in justice, you are basically thwarting for an attack -- foe attacks. it is similar to the body scans. they estimate americans to pat
downs and groping that is not as easily justified. host: we have our caller. caller: i want to emphasize what he is saying. this is a back door to cover civil liberties. i do not understand why you have the right -- living in a free country, but this shreds' it on the back door. what we have is a charade when you go through the airports and a subject you to all of these scans, while the bad people are always thinking ahead. the next time they are going to do something else, we
continuously are subjected to all of this security checks. the terrorists are evolving. none of this would have passed after 9/11. guest: we tend to fight our last war in our security measures. we're doing things that do not make sense. the chairman of the airlines said these security measures are not real security measures. they are closed security measures. they're not effective in combating terrorism. what is effective is following the lead, which requires evidence. you traced those people. you do not compound the problem
by making everyone a suspect as we are doing with these aviation security measures. it was not a legal deficit failure of authority in the law that led us to fail to detect the 9/11 attacks or the more recent attacks or the underwear bomber. it was human error. we knew about him just as we knew about the ninth question 11 bombers. error on the radar screen of the cia. information did not get to the home office from d.c. i they a skilled office. -- from the cia skilled office. we need to get better about this. host: connecticut caller? caller: great topic. i have serious concerns regarding the intelligence and security state in this country.
after 9/11, the patriot act was rammed through. ron paul opposed it. pretty much everyone else supported it for fear of being soft on the war of terror. i think a lot of citizens that have concerns have no means to remedy false suspicions by government against them, their friends, or their family. i wanted to see if there was anything in my report. i did it with the irs. they give you your master file, but the fbi does not honor your request for that. host: things for the call.
guest: he is right. one of the major problems with this law, the related measures, the individual measures are inspired provisions. it allowed the indefinite detention, most of whom turned out to be innocent and released. now there is the expectation that president obama will sign the executive order within the next few days. we will see if that happens. one of the problems is accountability and lack of transparency. you cannot have one without the other. the "washington post" has top- secret america which has a wonderful example of this.
host: oklahoma city on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: i think that you really cannot have your freedom to give up your liberty of to be secured by being fearful of someone. i agree. we cannot have this type of lot if we want to remain free. it is a back door to get the government more and more into our business. it has put me at of business many times because i cannot pass through security point to do something without stripping down practically. guest: you are right. i am glad the callers are from different perspectives. all parts of the political spectrum are recognizing that these are non partisan issues. you have russ feingold agreeing with ron paul, ralph nader, rand
paul. these are basic american values. i want to agree with don that if you are adopting policies or laws out of fear, what are you doing? york capitulating terrorism. it is a cliche to say that the terrorists win. if we are spending money and wasting our assets in being a distracted nation on things that the color coded security alerts that were fortunately got rid of after four years of being on the second-highest level. that sort of security measure does nothing in terms of genuine security. host: columbia, missouri. go ahead. caller: good morning. thank you for discussing this. my main problem with this whole flaying is that, again, it was a knee-jerk reaction. it seems to be with our federal
government gives us in this area and every area. liggett the generalized systems that are supposed to be a one size fits all. we get it in security, taxation, everything. almost everything the federal government does is a one-size- fits-all government. america is a big place and one size simply does not fit all. that is when our politicians continually mess. my question is what would we do specifically? if we drop this, and i agree that we do need to drop this, we need to come to some other sort of conclusion that will help us all to keep our liberties and our freedom? thank you. guest: think you and i agree with your point. the idea of a one-size-fits-all policy will make it easy for the terrorists to evade whatever security measures we put in
because they are not one-size- fits-all. they harbor particularized. if we do a security measure at the airport at the gates, they can go as they did in the russian aviation bombing and they can attack a subway, a waiting law, whenever. we need more fact-based individualized answers. our founders adopted the wisdom of the ages. reason and not fear. probable cause and the requirements are very important, but to answer your specific question, the federal government laws are all being instituted because of the climate of fear. they are paralyzed by the fear. we cannot depend on the media because in the search for ratings there are dramatizing conflicts.
they like the war on terror and the ratings that it brings. we cannot sit by as our country gets away from its core values and increasingly people from all parts of the political spectrum realize. we have to do concrete things. make citizens are aware this is happening. there is a huge ignorance out there. contactor congress people. i was here in d.c. this week in order to have a lobby day. that was for a potentially effective. this node diminished it a bit, but we really need to get the concerns expressed. obama himself has said that he cannot do it on his own because the expectations put on him by the intelligence establishment than the politics. we have to help them by exercising their first amendment rights to speak out and petition the government for excess of the grievances. the bill of rights defence committee, on whose board i
served, and i was the president of the organization for the last five years, brc.org, has lots of things you can use. host: this tweed says, "how much does -- how much money is the implementation of the patriot act cost american taxpayers?" guest: we know that it is in the tens of billions of dollars per year. portions of the patriot act like section 2 ordered 15 which is the business records provision that is -- like 215 is up for renewal. there is something we do not know about it. three senators last year including russ feingold and dick durbin, say we need to get this in the light. they say this is another
surveillance program. it was called total information awareness. these are programs that cost a lot of money because they're based on the premise that you can use oliver digital streams, data mining weather for may retail transaction or checking out a library book -- you can use all of these data streams, data mining. you can increase effectiveness by adding and the needles to the haystack and making it more difficult because terrorism is a very rare event. you get a lot of false positives. it is not working. look at the terrorist incidents that have failed not because we got them but because we have failed to connect the dots. the times square bomber's bonn did not go off. the underwear bomber could not like his pants. we cannot expect that we will succeed.
we need a fact-based, old- fashioned law enforcement intelligence work to connect the dots and listen when a terrorists father tells us he's a threat to the united states. host: our next call comes from elizabethtown, ky. you are on the "washington journal." caller: think you for answering my call. i know someone who got incarcerated due to a family situation. we find out that they slapped the patriot act on that guy. he has never used stalling with or has had any type of violence. he does not know. i think it is because he is black. guest: it could be. i hate to agree with you, but because the patriot act moves away from the objective requirements and are subject of discretion, basically it is up to the fbi's discretion whether
to launch an investigation and they can use the extraordinary powers. it tends to enforce prejudice. it is what we are seeing time and time again with the seven defusion centers that "collate data from the federal level and private company data, state public record data" all across the united states on innocent civilians, those fusion centers are basically running amok. there are not adequate privacy protections. when they act, act in a discriminatory fashion. they have had raids in simultaneous cities like minneapolis, north carolina, michigan against anti-were groups, peace groups. these are groups that are expressing solidarity with groups abroad or are protesting the war but they are being
profiled as peaceful dissidents. like the catholic workers or the quakers. people of muslim descent, southeast asians, and i hate to say it, but african-americans. you start to see profiling. the people from somalia, yemen, in national origin profiling, ethnic profiling. host: manhattan, kan., on our line for democrats. caller: think you for taking my call. i just had one question. and it's kind of personal. did the patriot act to change the hiring standards for all americans? what i am asking is that i was self-employed prior to 9/11. after 9/11 when i tried to go back into the private employment sector, all of my 16 years of self employment had been considered non-verifiable.
was that caused by the patriot act? guest: not the patriot act per se but it reinforces the climate that everyone is a suspect. you have this idea of showing your documents, the real id initiative that was temporarily delayed and is starting to reassert itself. we defeated it for now. the idea of having biometric identification and so forth may sound good in practice, but it create centralized databases where someone like you can be taken out of context and they made an even gary chance to explain. something that they misinterpret because some bureaucrat made a mistake and confused with someone else. as one caller said earlier, it is hard to get off of these lists what you are on them. if you are on one, it can be a real problem. you may find yourself -- find itself incapable of getting a job, traveling. there are dozens of people on the no-fly list that are
completely innocent. the aclu has a lawsuit on that. this affects ordinary americans. this has to do with it if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. host: the "the new incoming chairman of the house select community -- committee on intelligence. "these are urgent tools and authorities that are crucial to the work of the intelligence community. we all agree on the need for an extension. this allows an opportunity to do robusta oversight on the two of the intelligence community needs to keep america safe peak of -- safe." guest: not only these are not urgent tools, after 10 years after 9/11, but there are enough evidence about the abuse.
it is not being used about urgent terrorism. according to the department of justice, it is being used for ordinary crimes. the major newspapers have had very helpful reports on this. the patriot act did change in 218 the purpose requirement for foreign spying. you could have a higher probable cause center for domestic criminal and a lower relevant standard for checking on foreign spies and terrorists. but the paycheck -- with the patriot act did was change it. the primary purpose can be domestic criminal enforcement. it is mainly, frankly, the war on drugs against african- americans. host: west mansfield, ohio, you are on a "washington journal" which shipped its -- chip pitts." caller: i like to ask whether a person can do to defend
themselves if they were accused of violating the patriot act? guest: depends on the specific allegation. it can be very hard. brandon mayfield, the attorney who had his house secretly searched using patriot hours and was indefinitely detained, we did not know if he would ever be freed but this was without access to counsel. what you need to do is make sure that you are in touch with family and can get their numbers. get a lawyer. lawyers conversations are now being used, too. the sixth amendment right to counsel is being burdened. you cannot have effective access to capital if you are having your confidential conversations listened in on. i would familiarize yourself with going to the website and know what the main risks to you
are. then work to change these laws so that we do not have the risk of you being arbitrarily deprived of your liberty without due process of your lock chemical protection, respect your privacy rights, your right to cancel. these are serious issues. it will be too late. we will not be able to get the law back to where it needs to be. host: on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: mr. pitts, i have a question about civil liberties. which is more harmful, someone overhearing your phone call or under the obama health care act billing young people by the tens of thousands and having to spend $2,000 or more for insurance under penalty of law? virion, $2,000 means more to me than a phone call. thank you.
-- if i were younger, $2,000 means more to me. guest: there are debates about the constitutionality about theme obamacare act. this go against some of the cores of our founding. we were warned about the warrants of king george. we put in respect full rights like privacy rights, for example, that are not will appreciated but they are in the bill of rights and they are the basis, i believe, and they are the basis for the bills we have seen. if you cannot have a phone calls without the kind of free expression, we are going to be moving toward the berlin wall. to the extent that they remain
oppressive, china is ironically moving toward the u.s. model as we are moving toward the chinese model of surveillance and that is a bad direction to be moving in. host: given that the house is dominated by the republicans and the senate by the democrats, do you expect these three provisions will salesman later both chambers of congress or will there be a back and forth? guest: it is up to your viewers, their colleagues and friends. i was very impressed by how the new tea party members are certainly concerned about these issues. senator rand paul and even scott brown in massachusetts are now working with massachusetts on a body scanners. there are bills to try to get us back into a constitutional balance. at this point, unless we act, it will be a straight up reauthorization. because that is the simple thing
to do. the patriot act will be effectively permanent. the rest of the provisions will not be critical scrutinized. i think we need to, again, expand awareness. there is a new space for recognizing that these are trans-partisan of values that deserve the attention of volvos. host: chip pitts, thank you for being with us. we will take a short break. when we come back, a discussion on the future of nasa. today is saturday, january 29th. we bowie right back. -- we will be right back. >> this sunday, we will spend one hour speaking to former president bush about his life and his new book, "decision points. here is a portion of the interview. >> you are through with politics? >> yes. >> define that?
>> i do not want to campaign for candidates. i do not want to be a professional money maker. i do not wish to give my opinion and second-guessing current president. i think it is bad for the country to have a former president criticized his successor. it is tough enough to be president without a former president underwriting the current president. plus, i do not want to do that. despite the fact that i am now on tv, i do not want to be on tv. i tell people that one of the interesting, sacrifice, is that you lose your anonymity. i like the idea of trying to regain anonymity. it is something that makes me very comfortable and it is somewhat liberating, frankly.
>> the entire interview sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a." >> on american history tv, we will tour the home of frederick douglass. texas a&m university professor talks about woodrow wilson. then from the nixon foundation and the library, a focus on. patrick moynihan. experience american history tv on c-span30 weekend every weekend. see the complete schedule online at c-span.org/history and have it be mailed to you. >> this weekend on "book tv," 10 years after the attacks on the world trade center, the cnn national security.
he is interviewed. also this weekend, david eisenhower of the continuing growth of the military industrial complex and on barack obama's first campaign for the illinois state senate. and the complete schedule on booktv.org. >> for the record, i philosophically have always been opposed to taxpayer dollars being used for political advocacy of any kind. >> tom cole offered a bill to offer presidential financing. follow the entire debate in the final vote on line with c-span's congressional chronicle with a time line did transcript of every house and senate question. c-span.org/congress.
host: mark matthews joins us to talk of the future of nasa. we are on the 25th anniversary of the challenger disaster. what has nasa learned in those 25 years that will propel listen to the future and hopefully not have to relive that kind of disaster ever again? guest: there were a lot of tough lessons that came out of challenger. a lot of them were not learn until there was another disaster 17 years later with columbia. i spoke with columbia university few days ago and she discussed one of the difficulties in the culture. in the drive over ambition about safety kamenetz is a very much "get this done agency -- nasa it is very much a "get this done
agency." some early warnings were ignored. this happened in the challenger explosion. by the time columbia happened again, let the same concerns were raised that the culture had come back. i will not say it launched at all costs, but maybe perhaps to that listening to some of the safety concerns. nasa is trying to balance that with trying to find a rocket that will work cheaply and effectively. host: whether the future of manned space flight by nasa, particularly the wrote two weeks ago about the constellation program. nasa might waste $215 billion on cancelled programs. this was the headline in "the orlando sentinel." guest: not to sound like chicken
little, but nasa may be facing its most of the go time in its history right now. they're looking to return the space shuttle by the end of this year. it has maybe two or three more missions depending on funding. it is anyone's guess. in october, president obama and covers canceled the constellation program instituted a new plan to build a new rocket. the difficulty is that nasa essentially told congress a couple of weeks ago that they did not have the time or the resources to be able to do that. we may be looking for six, seven, even maybe years later before nasa is able to launch another rocket. host: you say an investigation by the nasa inspector general paul martin, falling in december report, confirms that nasa is
forced to continue funding the constellation even it was canceled in october after spending $12 billion during five years. the article goes on to say that even though the program has been canceled that they are still finding it. guest: maybe with the super bowl coming up next week, nasa has been a snake pit. they usually talk about football teams. they have been hurt which is the shelby provision. senator richard shelby, a big fan of the constellation, because they built the areas rocket in alabama, put incentives into a massive budget bill that essentially said the administration could not cancel constellation unless they approved it in an upcoming budget bill. they did not pass one. they just extended it into march.
they got caught up in all of these other issues, they were never able to get the cause out to the head to keep funding the constellation. they ended up wasting $215 by march. and it could be as much as $600 million by october on october that will not go anywhere. they may be able to use a lot of that money toward a new rocket, but a lot of this is uncertain and i think we are still looking at this and we do not know. host: where is the money going into? guest: it is going to ground operations and training. it is called the areas -- ares 1 rocket. that are essentially training
for a rocket that will probably never fly, or will never fly. host: last april, the president was talking about more funding for nasa and how this might be used. we will study with the president had to say and get the response from mark matthews. >> restart by increasing the nasa's budget by $6 billion over the next five years. i want people to understand the context of this. this is happening even as we has instituted a freeze on discretionary spending and have had to make cuts elsewhere in the budget. nassau, from the start several months ago, is one of the areas where we did not maintain a freeze but we actually increased funding by $6 billion.
by doing that, we will ramp up robotic exploration of the solar system including a probe of the sun's atmosphere. we will include mars, other destinations, and in advance telescope allowing us to look deeper into the universe than other before -- ever before. we will increase earth-based observations from the sites that will garner tangible benefits allowing us to protect our environment for future generations. host: what is the president's strategy? will he get support on capitol hill? guest: his upper jaw nasa is very interesting. in the state of the union this week, he mentioned that nasa, but he mentioned the nasa 50 years ago. he said we needed to respond to "a sputnik moment."
he talked about getting ready to respond with our own space program. when he did not mention is the nasa of now and the plans for this. . nasa was exempt from the across- the-board spending freeze. whether that continues this year it is still uncertain and we will see what happens. while getting an increase is still relatively flatlined at about $19 billion, it sounds like a lot, and i know people like to say that nasa has of this money and it is often wanted to extremes spending examples of people years when complaining about the government, but you have to look at this in context. right now, nasa is getting roughly -- the look of the
budget as $1, nasa gets about .005 cents. there is a significantly decrease the amount of money being spent on nasa. someone told me once that this is bridge building. you cannot build half their rocket. it will be ineffective unless you can do the whole thing. >> we are talking about the future of nasa with marketeers of the "orlando sentinel." if you would to get involved, the numbers are on your screen. you can also send us an e-mail or a twitter message. our first call comes from cleveland, taxes, on a line for republicans. -- texas, on the line for
republicans. caller: i have been watching rocket's takeoff for a long time, but i still have not figured out what good it is doing the world. the only thing i can see is that a hand people -- a handful of people to go up there and see what is going on. i have never seen one thing that has benefited the world. can you explain that to us please? guest: a lot of people do share that view as to what exactly we are getting out of human spaceflight. indeed, there were a few researchers to came out with the study, i believe two years ago, who said that a lot of ways, using robotic missions is the better thing to do. they can go farther. it is cheaper, safer. that is putting -- it is not putting human lives at risk.
we are pushing new boundaries and we will get something out of that. it is hard to deny the significance of putting someone on the moon. it is unbelievable when you walk out at night and you look at the moon and you think that we put someone there. there have been a number of innovations about technology and i know we talked about tang, but there have been true advancements that nasa has put forward. we looked at this on the 40th anniversary of apollo a couple of years ago. this comes down to something that is not scientific. it is hard to put a dollar figure on that. host: next up in st. augustine, florida. caller: the best thing nasa can do is to develop a car that gets
100 miles to the gallon and can therefore make is independent from these foreign wars we get into over natural resources. the best thing i think that nasa can do is to work on saving our planet. we have the technology to be so independent in this country, yet we are shooting of space shuttles and all this other stuff. why is it not part of nasa's budget to start at looking and helping our planet itself? we have the technology to the point where all we really need oil for is the rotation. why does nasa not think about doing something to help the people that are on the planet now? guest: a couple of responses to that. the mission of nasa is often a footnote on capitol hill. we have to do human exploration. others say that they would agree with your point of view that science is the focus. nasa has done some work in terms
of earth monitoring. they keep an eye on the polls to see how global warming is affecting the earth. they have not done as much work in terms of pure research, as you say. i do not think that is the mission of nasa. some of the things they're looking at is not to get a car to go 100 miles per gallon, but be able to do a space expedition beyond pluto. host: north carolina on our line for democrats. go ahead. caller: it is kind of like the oil spill down in the gulf. if we're going to clean it up, we are going to clean it up. host: do you have anything to talk about nasa? caller: i think they should do away with it. host: we will move on then. on our line for independents.
caller: nasa should continue funding constellations. we should focus that's been done aspects of the project should have the vehicle. we're trying to act responsibly in this situation by spending the money wisely. host: are you working on the product in huntsville? caller: yes. i am a contract in officer. i support shuttle and support ares as we look towards the future. host: as money comes in for the project that the president wants to cancel, where is the money going? are you building anything? caller: yes. have to set priorities within the contract, but we focus on those aspects that should have applications to the next vehicle
so that the money is not simply wasted. the way gets to trade at time is that we're just spending money on its something we will turn around and throw away. that is not the case. we have good people working on this. i have worked with these people and we have our standing people working on this. they are struggling to deal with this in the best way that they can. i guess i am being defensive to a degree, but i'm trying to point out these are responsible people and they are dealing with this in a responsible manner. is not just here in huntsville. host: sorry for cutting you off. we are going to move on. if not constellation, what would be in the pipeline? what is next that these people would work on? guest: to address this point before we go on, to put this in the context, he does make a
legitimate point that the inspector general did save nasa would be wasting $200 million by march that it would only be a fraction of the overall multi- billion dollar program. there is a lot of what they're doing it could be transferred to the next vehicle. to get your point about what nasa would do next, that is a very difficult question. right now, the constellation program has been canceled their looking to build a new heavy lift rocket that could launch. it is like the apollo capsule. crude. dishes kind of falls. the heavy lift rocket, what it would be able to do is hopefully be able to launch a mission to an asteroid by 2025.
the problem is that what the nasa officials told congress earlier this month is that we cannot do it. we cannot have the time or resources. we will keep studying how we will be able to do this. the requirements that he put forward will not let us build this rocket in time. another point of context is that the funding for this new rocket that nasa wants to build is going to get less money over the next three years in a consolation would have gone. one of the reasons that constellation failed is because it did not get enough money. host: our next call comes from ryan beck, n.y.. caller: i appreciate your reporting. in terms of the future of nasa, can you put in the context the tension that is in place between the old guard of nassau, from -- f nasa from 'the right stuff"
to the current administrator? guest: i cannot speak as well to the tension in the agency, but one of the definite tensions going on now is between this old-guard, those who saw the mercury program, the apollo program, and a lot of the advocates of this new commercial space flight venture. there persian to launch a new rockets outside of nasa. -- they are fishing to launch new rockets. there are working outside the agency. a perfect example is in california. it is headed by a former internet tycoon and is a big personality if you have ever met him. he is the gung-ho about it. i visited their facility in florida last year. it is amazing. you have guys in shorts and
bandanas working on a rocket. it is like a scene from "american chopper" going on. that is different than the guys you have in bodysuits walking around the kennedy space center. the difference between what they're trying to do and what nasa is trying to do is really interesting. we celebrate. and they became the first commercial company to logic capsule into space. then they returned safely. this is the first time in history. this happened in december. they have a duct tape the problem. it was a crack to be fixed. they saw off the offending piece and a large. we always complain about putting nasa in a difficult position here. we want them to be like space x,
but at the same time we want them to be safe to avoid another challenger or columbia. to get rid of this tension, you have to put some faith in both. host: greenwood, ark., on our line for independents. caller: the sputnik moment for obama should be getting back to the moon before we go to mars and start mining that. there is this illusion. helium free is easily accessible for nuclear fusion. guest: being on the moon does not make it accessible. that would be difficult to do. host: we could establish mining colonies on the moon. -- caller: we could establish
mining colonies on the moon. host: what exactly is he talking about? guest: helium 3 has been theorized to be able to be used by future spacecraft. what is the the gold is the weight of the fuel. if you could find a way to have a fuel supply outside of earth's orbits are you did not have to blast off from the ground, it makes it cheaper and easier to go further. if we were able to do that on the amount potentially, it makes a mission to mars easier to do, cheaper to do. whether actually setting up a colony on the moon in order to go to mars is "cheaper," i am not sure if that is true. host: our line from idaho.
i cannot pronounce it. caller: thank you so much for c- span. it is informative and it provides me with the source of information that i cannot get from newspapers or other television programs. i would like to make a comment about nasa. first of all, i would like to apologize to you and other persons of color for the racial remarks that was made by the individual earlier. i am so sorry for that. speaking of nasa, the lady that spoke from cleveland, texas, that was talking about how there was no contributions to the world from nasa, of would like to let her know that the research and development of nasa has brought us so many different
products. for example, the advancement in teflon, survival foods, and many other areas. nasa has been such a very, very important role for the united states as far as the world goes in remaining at the forefront of this program. i did not think that we can afford to allow the chinese, japanese, or the indians, or any other part of the country or the world, to become at the forefront of this important program. host: think you for your call. your thoughts? guest: there has always been discussion on capitol hill about a second space race and what that would me. the caller was correct that a number of countries to rub the world are developing their own space programs. -- countries throughout the
world are developing their on space programs. what do we do? do we try to compete or do we try to enter into some sort of agreement like the international space station in order to get humidity together for a common goal? host: a tweet from c-spansnark, "i want more mars rover-like devices." our next caller. go ahead of. caller: why did not nasa and space reporters talk about the immediate short-term and long- term goals and the rationale for those goals? the public seems to be very ignorance about the need for a space exploration program. guest: the goes right now are up for debate. under the constellation program,
the next shot was trying to put astronauts on the moon. one of the things that president obama has pushed for is to try and put astronauts on a floating asteroid. we have already been on the moon. let's try something new. part of the confusion is because these issues are still up for debate. host: is there a particular reason why it other than the fact he says we have already been on the moon why we should go on a floating asteroid? guest: the intent is to help them develop new technologies to go beyond the moon. if you try to land on an asteroid, it forces nasa to build a space craft that can travel further. it is a very esoteric place called the lestrange point. it is being called by some in different directions and it can
just sit there. the science is very exciting and most people in the public think, "what are you talking about?" host: by the crew saw that in the neighbors willis movie. our next caller. -- i think we saw that in a bruce willis movie. caller: i support the last two callers' comments. i support nasa. i think we should give them the resources. guest: i think a reason why a lot of people really care about nasa is because what it represents. in a lot of ways, it is the spear point of american society. it is the pinnacle of what we do in terms of the people and
the astronauts we produce, the technology we produce, and the priorities we have in funding. people get so concerned about whether nasa will be able to the continue to do what it does because it represents what this country does. host: daytona, fla., you are on "washington journal. caller: i wanted to comment on the lady from texas. all of our modern technology stems from nasa in some way or form including the fact that we all have computers sitting on our desks and in our laps. before the apollo program, computers were only in universities and research labs. they took up the size of this giant building. nasa does ibm and told them to make the computer fit in the little box.
the other thing is that we have thousands and thousands of private-sector jobs from nasa. . are all across the country. obama is shooting for an asteroid does. we should not go to the moon. it is a misunderstanding of space flight in general. it is much more cost-effective to use the moon as a staging area to go to further locations. and cost a lot more energy and material to launch from the earth than it does the moon. nasa's plan with the constellation program was to set up a moon base so that we could launch deep space missions from the moon, where it would be cheaper. that is my comment. guest: again, to be able to launch from the moon to go further, which is true that it
is easy, you have to launch from the earth to get to the moon in the first place. it becomes a neutral sum game. this may be a good point to talk about some of the discussion that is going on with nasa and the competing bills of the administration and congress last year. one thing that president obama did when he unveiled his budget in february of last year but that he put nasa on a new course. rather than spending money on constellation, he wanted to help nasa focus on technology development. we were going to mix of different pieces of a shuttle and make a new rocket, but let's figure out a new rocket. let's look at comparable should and all these new ways that we may be able to look at -- let's look at ion propulsion.
obama's plan a more or less cut toward the trend by congress in many respects because a lot of the people on the hill are representing districts with nasa centers who would benefit by some continuation of the shuttle program and the contractors who build a lot of these schaeuble pieces. -- shuttle pieces. i do not what to say the constellation was built on pork, but there is a lot of interest in protecting home state jobs as it relates to nasa. host: we are speaking with mark matthews, a reporter from "the orlando sentinel." we have a tweet that says it is a good idea to move congress to an asteroid, otherwise this is nothing but a money machine to keep endless wars going. you wrote a little bit about the contentious nature of the things in congress and their divergent issues or interests regarding
the funding of nasa projects, analysis. "nasa flails as forces pull on it from all directions." they are still going in different directions. guest: they are all trying to stay together under this compromise that was approved last year. this nunez a compromise to build a new rocket -- this new nasa compromise tries to persuade everyone on capitol hill. for the utah delegation, they will continue work on the solid rocket boosters. for the kennedy space center, there is supposed to be able to do some more commercial development. for alabama, they want to keep the heavy rocket going to make senator shall be happy. they are still working with human space flight to make senator kay bailey hutchinson happy.
the compromise was more political science than rocket science. that is the difficulty facing nasa right now. host: next up in georgia, on our line for independents. caller: good morning. this is a great subjects that you are bringing up and i think the main difficulties with the question that you have asked is that there really is no resolution that has been found between one administration and the next. nasa is a political football and it is being used as such basically since kennedy made his statement that we needed to go to the moon. that was an awesome goal, but there was no follow-through. they had not established with the next goal should be. guest: the caller makes a very
good point. one of the major difficulties with an asset is that what it does are multi-year projects that take longer than four years or eight years. they stand administrations. what ends up happening is when there is a switchover in the white house, it is not able to continue with the last guy did. it is a legitimate program -- problem that faces the nasa about the turnover in the white house and the congress. host: biloxi, mississippi. caller: think you very much for c-span. i want to celebrate today the 40th anniversary of apollo 14 in the three heroes who went to the moon that day. we as americans must remember that these are the heroes that make america giant. we must also remember that only
12 men have walked on the moon safely and six have been around the moon. these are the elements that make america great. we have no more heroes. we have given our heroes to china and other countries. a hero in america is money. host: we have another tweet that says, "nasa also give us the memory -- memory from of beds, cloud mattresses keep track of you while you sleep." on our life for democrats, you are on "washington journal." bethany? caller: i have a question. rather than doing, like, they are always worrying about going
to the moon. why have they not made a ship or a rocket that can hold, like, electric power like a battery or another one with the gas that they use? why have that -- why have they not used one or made one that can use electricity? they would always have a second while they are out there. guest: trying to be able to find fuel for these spacecrafts' is a very difficult engineering question. when there is a presidential committee in 2009, i believe, they look that nasa and one idea that came out of that, potentially, was an orbiting
fuel depot, basically a gas station in orbit said that nasa could send missions up there and fill up the gas station so that future run -- future rocket ships could just feel up. energy and fuel issues are a legitimate engineering concern that nasa is still wrestling with. host: james dean of the "florida today" roetz this article. the kennedy center has requested space industry input on how those facilities could best be used to support government and commercial launches after the shuttle program's final flight expected this summer. what are they talking about here? shutting down part of kennedy space center and renting it out as a commercial real-estate? guest: it comes with the giant stipulation. if we needed, we will take it back to. some of the things that have out there, such as the vehicle assembly building, and that is the iconic try building that you
see at kennedy space center. i did not know if you have been there, but it towers over the landscape. this may be one of those signs of a potential transfer to the commercial rocket companies. host: looking at a shuttle liftoff as we take our next call from connecticut. on our line for independents. caller: good morning. could you please give me a good argument as to how shooting off into space is not upsetting our atmosphere? look at the heavy snow and we have never had this through the years. since the space program has started coming in seems to have had quite a connection, with me, and i am wondering that they're going up to study global warming, but how they thought
about what this is doing in upsetting the earth's atmosphere? guest: i imagine the energy it takes to launch a space shuttle into orbit or some of these other sites rockets probably is not that good for the environment. if your goal is to make the earth to greener, then you may want to focus on traffic and all the cars on the road rather than the shuttle flights. host: our last call from staten island, n.y., on our line for republicans. caller: i am very in to nasa. there is the idea of plausible deniability and the idea of extraterrestrials. i believe that we should study earth and understand our history because there are things like art imitating life. like art imitating life.